Characteristics and Psychological Consequences of Sexual Assault in Haiti

Marie M. Deschamps, Harry Theodore, Marie Irdnie Christophe, Ariadne Souroutzidis, Mark Meiselbach, Tatiana Bell, Christian Perodin, Stravinsky Anglade, Jessy Devieux, Pierre Cremieux, Jean W. Pape

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


More than 1 in 10 females (13%) reported being a victim of sexual assault in the 2012 Mortality, Morbidity, and Service Utilization Survey conducted in Haiti. This study aimed to describe the characteristics of sexual assault and its psychological consequences among female victims of sexual assault (patients) who presented to the Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO) clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and determine which characteristics impact seeking medical evaluation or follow-up care. We conducted comparisons of the characteristics of sexual assault and psychological impact among female patients in Haiti by age stratification using chi-square or analysis of variance tests. Logistic regressions were used to assess the determinants of receiving medical evaluation within 72 h or returning for follow-up. A total of 4092 female patients presented from January 2006 to December 2015. Patients aged ≤10 years had significantly higher rates of assault by known assailants and a single assailant (p < 0.001). A total of 2650 (64.8%) patients reported at least one psychological condition, and 2458 patients (60.1%) returned within 6 months for follow-up. The adjusted odds ratio of returning for follow-up among patients exhibiting a psychological condition at first visit was 0.20 (0.17-0.24; p < 0.001), indicating that patients exhibiting a psychological condition were 80% less likely to return for follow-up. There are significant differences in sexual assault characteristics between child and adult patients. Psychological assessments could help predict the likelihood of return for follow-up. Health care workers should be trained to recognize psychological trauma as a risk factor for loss to follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalViolence and Gender
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescent
  • Haiti
  • psychological outcomes
  • sexual assault
  • sexual violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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